Sending your child off to college

Are you prepared to send your child off to college?  If you’re getting ready to bring your child, whether it be your first or your fifth, to college away from home, I’ll give you some tips to help you through this time.

The Emotions

I love my children dearly and I want what’s best for them, as I’m sure you do.  Having them attend college away from home is a personal decision. Every family is different and every child within that family is different.  I pray that we are all wise and diligent in this big decision and no-one should ever judge someone else’s choice.

The time has come for your child, who is most likely now an adult, to move on to the next season of their life – and yours.  You have spent about eighteen years raising this person for the purpose of glorifying God and preparing them to be successful and independent as they step out into the world.  Keep in mind although your child may be excited, it is scary for them.  They really don’t know what to expect – it is life-changing for them – even more than for you.

Be sensitive to the fact that they are leaving the love and comforts of home.

“Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

If you have raised your children in the ways of the LORD, you have done well.  The rest is up to God!  It is now time to let them spread their wings, apply the values you have taught them, and make their mark in the world.  We obviously don’t just let them go – we should be following up consistently to help keep them focused, encouraged, supported, and loved.  They should feel like they can call us anytime for anything! Support their decisions (as long as they’re not sinful).  They are beginning to think and act on their own now, to figure things out without us, so when they make a decision, they need support and encouragement in order to gain confidence in their own decision-making.  Allow them to fail – this is so hard but necessary. Sometimes they need to experience consequences  (apart from us dealing out those consequences) in order to learn to not make those bad decisions. The first semester, I would check up and make sure they have an organized system, know what they need, know how to get in touch with their professors and extra help, get the books and other materials they need. After that, they should be able to do all that on their own.

Especially for those children that have been homeschooled, this can be a huge adjustment. My son went away to a Christian college and during orientation, I asked one of the professors he would most likely be taking classes with, how homeschooled students do.  He told me he loves homeschoolers because they already know how to pace themselves and set their own goals, unlike a student who went to a structured school where the curriculum and due dates are the same for everyone.  I was very encouraged to hear that.  We heard from people (not homeschoolers) that it would be so hard for them after being homeschooled, but I think there are many advantages to being homeschooled when it comes to college. Your child is not peer-dependent but can think more independently and hopefully more wisely.

Values we have taught them to prepare them for such a time as this

  1. Trust in the LORD – pray and call upon the LORD whenever needed,

  2. Respect others. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

  3. Be kind.

  4. Stand by your convictions even when they’re not popular.

  5. Be diligent and do your best. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the LORD and not for men.” Colossians 3:23

  6. Take opportunities to bless others.  Get involved in groups that serve others.

Taking care of business

Make sure you get all the logistics out of the way and completed as early as possible – FAFSA (financial aid), applications, transcripts, deposits and whatever else their school requires.  You want to meet all the deadlines the school sets or they may prevent the student from registering or worse they may withdraw the student from a class they are already registered for.  Housing – help them to decide which dorm is best for them and how to choose a roommate.

Tips to help make the transition easier

1. Check out the surrounding area of the school with them and find a nice place to get something to eat. I always found this to be a little bit of a connection and something they’re familiar with.

2. I always made their bed with them or for them in their first dorm room on move-in day. I think this is a sign of the comfort and support from you they will take with them.

3. They’ll want lots of new things for their room and that’s fine, but encourage them to bring some special things from home, even if it’s a stuffed animal.  Visit my Etsy shop where you can purchase some printable scripture verses for their dorm room as a reminder to them of God’s faithfulness.

4. Be as involved as possible in the beginning, they will let you know when it’s time to let go.

5. Send care packages to them and their friends.

chocolate chip cookies

cookies as a care package

 

6. Visit as often as you can.

7. Make sure they know their roommates and friends are always welcome to come home with them. Know who their friends are.

8. Keep in touch!  I have a great relationship with all my children who have moved away and I’m very thankful for that.

9. Pray!!

“My grace is sufficient, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Bringing my first child to college, admittedly was my hardest.  We were living in New York and she went to school in Florida (1200 miles away) We left her there and I couldn’t even get the words out to say goodbye,  I cried for the next 5 hours.  But this was the season for her to move on and for me to have one less child at home and God gave us a tremendous amount of grace for that.

We are in the process of having our youngest, my baby, go off to college.  I am hoping this one won’t be as hard as the other two that went away.  This college is closer than the ones her siblings went to and she’s a little older (she stayed home and went to a community college for her first two years) I know the tears will come, I will miss her terribly but I’m trusting in a loving and sovereign God who keeps us all in the palm of His hand!!

I am by no means an expert in this area, but I offer what I have learned from 10 years experience in having my kids attend college.  For more information on specifics, consult the college itself.

I’d love to hear from you – comments, additional tips, experiences, etc.

Hope this was a help!

Visit my Etsy shop for some scripture verse printables for their dorm room or for yourself as a reminder of God’s faithfulness!!